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Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Archive for December, 2007

House Church Christmas Services Raided Throughout Multiple Provinces

Posted by radiofreechina on December 20, 2007

Prominent House Church Leader Detained During Worship Service

December 19, 2007

   Henan Province- On December 16, 2007, Less than two weeks before
Christmas, China Aid has learned that, Pastor Liang Qi Zhen, Vice President
of the Chinese House Church Alliance, was detained by PSB officials in Er
Qi District. After disbursing Liang’s congregation, police officials took
him by force and transported him to an undisclosed location where he was
tortured for several hours. Liang’s ears and right hand were injured
during the lengthy assault. After being released, Liang was able to
identify the one who tortured him as Er Qi Security Bureau policeman, Li
Seng. No legal procedure was established during the entire incident. PSB
officials continue to threaten the church members to abstain from
gathering.

   Jiangsu Province- A house church in Chang Zhou City was attacked by
police officials in December during a Christmas celebration. The church,
led by Pastor Bu Ge Qiao, was in the midst of a Christmas service when
police raided the gathering and detained four female members. During the
apprehension police assaulted one of the members until she became
unconscious. She was later taken to the hospital. Her condition remains
unknown.

   Yunan Province- On December 5, 2007, policemen and members of the
Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs raided a house church meeting in
Kunming, and detained several members including, Ms. Piao Guihua, the
renter of the property. After searching the building, police seized several
hundred Christian books and note-pads, and then burned them outside the
residence. Police also destroyed the identification cards of three of the
church members.  After several hours of interrogation, the members were
released and told to remove all property from the residence by 10am. The
landlord of the building was also instructed to cease rental agreements
with Ms. Piao. The same house church has been raided on several occasions
beginning in December of 2004, September 2007, November 3, 2007, and
November 29 2007. In each instance, police officials have confiscated the
offering donations along with Bibles and other Christian literature. In
every raid, police officials have failed to issue legal documentation of
the property taken.

   Henan Province- On Tuesday, December 4, policeman in Lu Yi district,
Henan Province, assailed a local house church prayer meeting. Five church
members were detained and taken to the local police station for
interrogation. Their names are:

Shao Guang Rong (the pastor of the church), his wife Zhang Ji Zhi, Yan Qi
Ying, Cui LianZhi and Wang Xiao Jian.

The members were released on bail after 5 days detention, but not before
being forced to pay an 800 Yuen fee for food consumed during their
incarceration. According to several house church members, at the same time
their leaders were taken by the police, dozens of believers in another town
of the same district were also detained. No word concerning their release
has been heard.

   House church members, labeled by police officials as “cultists”,
are often sentenced to labor camps when they are detained by police. The
members detained in Henan Province are likely to face one year imprisonment
in such a labor camp.

“To arbitrarily arrest peaceful Christians for celebrating Christmas,
shows how much religious freedom Chinese people have,” said Bob Fu,
President of China Aid Association. “The international community should
be concerned for the increasing religious persecution in China in recent
months especially in light of the Beijing Olympics just a few months
away.”

   In spite of increasing persecution, house church members remain adamant
and vocal about celebrating the Christmas season. Services continue to be
held celebrating the birth of Christ, as members gather to sing songs and
worship despite fears of arrest and imprisonment.

Issued by CAA on December 19, 2007

 info@ChinaAid.org

http://www.ChinaAid.org

www.MonitorChina.org

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Countdown To The Beijing Olympics 2008

Posted by radiofreechina on December 15, 2007

By Anthony Bollback
Special to ASSIST News Service

Sign advertising the Beijing 2008 Olympics

BEIJING, CHINA (ANS) In less than 250 days China will attempt to pull off the greatest show on earth as the Olympics 2008 opens in Beijing. At exactly 8.08 on August 8, 2008 the curtain will rise on a spectacular opening night ceremony. The emphasis on the numeral 8 is not a coincidence. In Chinese thinking the numeral 8 is associated with hope and prosperity- the two things China craves more than anything else in its bid to dominate the world as Number 1. The theme will be One World, One Dream which summarizes the century’s old concept of China as the middle kingdom and center of world influence.

The government is going to great lengths to spruce up the city and its

people’s manners. A superhuman effort is underway to curb spitting by the use of severe fines. Loud talking and unseemly conduct on the streets is another challenge as Beijing prepares to welcome thousands of tourists. A recent traveler who just returned from Beijing reported that the 90,000 taxi drivers in Beijing were in a crash course to master rudimentary English. He did say, however, that his drivers didn’t seem to be making much progress.

Nevertheless, this frenzied effort is underway to thrust Beijing into the 21st century with a magnificent site for the Games. In an effort to beautify the city, 2 million trees have been planted and magnificent architectural masterpieces are beginning to change the skyline. There is no doubt that Beijing will be prepared to be China’s showcase for the world to see a magnificent city with fabulous ancient buildings of old China standing by the most modern architectural wonders created by man.

China is feverishly working to impress the world and some of the suggestions and plans run counter to everything this atheistic nation believes. The Chinese media reported that LIU Bainan, vice-president of the China Patriotic Catholic Association, which is the official registered Catholic Church equivalent to the Protestant Three Self Patriotic Movement, has urged the authorities to place Bibles in every hotel room during the Games. The official Xinhua News Agency quoted LIU as saying that this would be a good move by Beijing in order to “clear up foreign misconceptions about religion in China.” He went on to say, “A large number of foreign athletes and tourists will swarm into Beijing for the Games, a majority of whom have religious belief.” Xinhua continued his statement that “the Bible is a must at hotels in foreign countries.” LIU made these bold assertions on the sidelines of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top political advisory body.

The dilemma for China is to present to the world a country enjoying religious freedom in officially recognized churches while at the same time, pastors and church leaders from house churches are still being arrested and held for interrogation and sometimes severe beatings. Earlier in the summer, more than 100 foreign workers were expelled from China because their religious activities were involved with house churches considered by China to be an “evil cult.”

Mr. ZHOU Heng, a Christian businessman has been under criminal detention since August. He was arrested while attempting to pick up 2 tons of Bibles sent from another province for distribution to local believers. ZHOU is on criminal detention on suspicion of illegal business operations and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

It is difficult for foreigners to understand these actions by the government especially since Amity Press, sponsored by the Three Self Patriotic Movement, the registered church, has officially printed more than 40 million Bibles during the past twenty-five years. Soon they will move into their new facilities which will be one of the largest and most modern printing presses in the country. Amity is now printing Bibles in many different languages for export, and promises to increase production of Chinese Bibles in the coming year.

In 2004, the government-backed Amity Press put the number of Christians at 18 million, however, China Aid Association reported several months ago that Mr. YIE Xiaowen, the director of the Chinese State Administration for Religious Affairs said in two internal meetings held in Beijing University and the Chinese Academy of Social Science “that the number of Christians in China has reached 130 million!” It should be noted that the vast majority of Christians are part of the unregistered house churches.

The next few months will reveal how China will handle these sensitive religious matters as it seeks to reach for two worlds- their own repressive controls based on their atheistic beliefs and the approval of the world they one day hope to dominate in business. The US State Department’s 2006 report on international religious freedom said China had failed to live up to promises to respect citizens’ faith and persecutes Christians, Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists who refuse to accept official controls.

The countdown to the Olympic Games 2008 will no doubt have a profound affect on the country and the world.

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270 House Church Pastors Detained For Alleged Illegal Religious Gathering

Posted by radiofreechina on December 10, 2007

www.ChinaAid.org

Shandong Province- China Aid Association has learned that 270 House Church Pastors have been detained for what Chinese officials are calling an “illegal religious gathering”.

On December 7 at 1:30pm, House Church pastors in Hedeng District, Linyi
City , were gathered for a Bible Study when their meeting was disrupted by police officials.

According to Pastor Li, an eyewitness, 40-50 policemen from 12 different towns were involved in the massive detention. The pastors were then handcuffed two-by-two and taken to the local police station for questioning. As of this morning 150 pastors remain in custody. The others have been released on a Y300 ($40) interrogation fee.

The humiliation these pastors received by being led away in handcuffs as common criminals, for attending a Bible study is an unjustifiable act of religious persecution. In addition, the large scale and high profile of the detentions shows the apathy of Chinese officials in moving towards a policy for toleration of religious freedom. Behavior unbecoming of the World’s host for the Olympic games in 2008.

China Aid will continue to monitor the situation and provide necessary aid for these persecuted pastors.

For those concerned, contact:

Chinese Embassy in
Washington , D.C.


Ambassador: Mr. Zhou Wenzhong
Address:
2300 Connecticut Avenue, N. W., Washington D.C.
20008 , U.S.A.
Tel: +001-202-3282500, 3282501, 3282502
Fax: +001-202-3282582
Email: chinaembassy_us@fmprc.gov.cn

Issued by CAA on December 10, 2007

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7-year old American child forced into hiding in China as Public Security Bureau refuses justice and medicine to her Diabetic father

Posted by radiofreechina on December 6, 2007

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

BEIJING, CHINA (ANS) In the shadow of the Olympic Games Village, northwest of Beijing’s city center, concerns about religious persecution and the corruption of justice for China’s common citizens in the months running up to the Olympics have been raised, in a case involving a young American girl, nicknamed “Grace,” and her middle class Chinese family.

According to China Aid Association (CAA), Grace En Mei Shi, a 7-year old girl, who is an American citizen of Chinese ethnic descent, has been forced into hiding with her Chinese mother and 11-year old sister. They are fearful for their own safety and for the health and well being of En Mei’s father –Weihan Shi — a 37-year old Chinese businessman being held in an unknown location without formal charges or legal representation after being arrested by the Haidian District Substation of the Beijing Public Security Bureau. Essentially, he is a “disappeared person.”

CAA (www.chinaaid.org) says Mr. Shi, a life-long resident of Beijing, and a travel agent active in promoting foreign travel in China during the Olympics, was arrested in his Christian literature bookstore in a high-class business tower near the Olympics Village, along with some of his employees, his younger brother and his wife — Mrs. Jin Zhang — who have since been released after questioning.

After 20 police raided their home at 5 AM on November 28, the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) detained Shi’s wife, more than once, to question her in connection with Christian literature confiscated from Shi’s home, office and bookstore.

CAA says: “Shi is now in the eighth day of his detention by the Beijing PSB, without being allowed to see his family or a lawyer to represent him. In violation of Chinese law, no formal charges or arrest warrant have been issued, although the family has requested it.”

In its report, obtained by ANS, China Aid says: “The family is concerned that he may be quite ill. As a diabetic, going without his medicine for several days, Shi may already be facing the danger of diabetic shock. The Haidian officers have refused to allow the family to take Mr. Shi’s diabetic medicine to him. There has been no proof or assurance to the family regarding his medical condition. Deprivation and torture tactics are often used by the PSB in their notorious detention centers to force those being held to reveal information about others.”

CAA says that the little American citizen — “Grace”– born during the family’s visit to the U.S. in 2000, and her older sister — “Lily” — are reportedly terrified for their mother and father’s safety after witnessing the raid on their home.

It adds: “The mother and two girls have gone into hiding, fearing the possibility that threatened reprisals against Shi’s wife and two children would be used as an interrogation tactic against him before legal representation can be arranged.”

According to China Aid: “The U.S. Embassy has been provided information about the case and is reportedly concerned for the welfare of the young American girl. The American Citizen’s Service Center and Political Section of the U.S. Embassy have been formally raising inquiry to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs already.”

“This is another case of religious persecution in the 2008 Summer Olympics host city Beijing in the name of so-called illegal publication,” said Bob Fu, president of China Aid and pastor of both Shi and his wife from 1995-1996 in Beijing.

“In 2004, House Church pastor Cai Zhuohua was sentenced to 3 years for printing bibles, we urge the international community to pressure the Chinese government to respect the rule of law and release Mr. Shi immediately.”

For more information, please contact:

Ray Sharpe, President
Bethel Energy Group, Inc and client of Mr. Shi’s travel agency

Gregory C May
Political Section
U.S. Embassy Beijing
Tel.: (8610) 6532-3831 ext. 6742
Fax: (8610) 6532-6423 Email:MayGC@state.gov

Director Zhang Weigang , Beijing Public Security Bureau, Haidian District Substation
10-82519110;
10- 82519350
Spokesperson of China Ministry of Foreign Affairs
10-65592311 or 10-13910869861

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Xinjiang worker sentenced to two-years re-education through labor for assisting American Christian businessman

Posted by radiofreechina on December 5, 2007

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

MIDLAND, TEXAS (ANS) A 35-year-old Uyghur Christian, who is a former employee of Xinjiang Pacific Agricultural Resources Development Company, Ltd., has been sentenced to two years education through labor for allegedly assisting foreigners in illegal activities.

A report from China Aid Association (CAA), says that after graduating from college Mr. Wusimanyimin, of Uyghur ethnicity from Wuerqi village, went to work at the Propaganda Office of Zhawa Township, Moyu County. Then in 1998 he gained employment at Xinjiang Pacific Agricultural Resources Development Company, Ltd. until his arrest in November of this year.

CAA says that following an investigation, officials have stated that clear and solid evidence was found convicting Mr. Wusimanyiming to have assisted foreigners in illegal activities from March of 1998 through April of 2004. These illegal activities allegedly included the releasing of government secrets and documents. In addition, the owner of Xinjiang Pacific Agricultural Resources Development Company, Ltd, an American businessman and Christian, was expelled from China and his company shut down pending further investigation.

In it’s report, obtained by ANS, CAA says: “The sentencing of Mr. Wusimanyiming and the expulsion of his employer from the country are unjust punishments against innocent businessmen. How an ordinary citizen without admittance to privileged information, gained access to government secrets and documents is a question that begs to be answered. The reason for Mr. Wusimanyiming’s arrest and sentencing seems far more likely stem from the fact that his employer is a foreign businessman and outspoken Christian.. This unjustifiable arrest of brother Wusimanyiming further illustrates the efforts of the Chinese government to curtail the spread of Christianity within China.”

China Aid Association’s D. Burton is quoted as saying, “The only crime Mr. Wusimanyiming is guilty of is working for an American Christian Businessman.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Wusimanyiming has 60 days to apply for an administrative reconsideration of his two-year labor sentence. Beijing Christian lawyer, Zhang Kai will represent him with his legal appeal.

“We encourage the international community to speak out against the injustice against Mr. Wusimanyiming and the countless others who are imprisoned for the crime of living out their faith,” CAA adds.

Concerned Christians may contact:
Ms. Wu Aiying, minister of Ministry of Justice of PRC
Tel:10-65205114
Fax:10-64729863
Address:No. 10, Nan Da Jie, Chaoyangmen, Beijing City (Zip Code: 100020)

For more information, contact:
China Aid Association, Inc.
E-mail: info@ChinaAid.org Website: www.ChinaAid.org www.monitorChina.org
Contact: D. Burton (432)689-6985
Fax: (432)-686-8355

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A Letter to President Hu Jintao from Pastor Zhang Mingxuan, President of Chinese House Church Alliance

Posted by radiofreechina on December 2, 2007

12:50 a.m., November 20, 2007

 

Dear respectable President Hu Jintao,

 

How are you? We appreciate your hard work.

 

Greetings from Pastor Zhang Mingxuan, son of God, follower of Jesus Christ and servant of the Lord!

 

President Hu, the Holy Spirit has moved me to write this following letter to you at 23:00 near midnight. I know you are sitting far away in the Central Party Committee and I would like to know if you know what is going on in the rest of China under your leadership, and if you know the hardship among the common people. I would also like to know if you know how the subordinate government officials, at all levels, knowingly violate and defy the laws of the land.

 

I used to be a barber. After I believed in Jesus Christ, God treated me well and let me become a pastor. Now I am the president of the Chinese House Church Alliance and a servant working for God and doing the duty of the sons and daughters of God. In such a position, I am making my contribution to the prosperity, strength and harmony of China. We do charities and accept homeless orphans and help Christians in misery. However, these good deeds become reasons for your subordinates at all levels of government to persecute us. I believe this is not your idea, but I also believe that China has promised the United Nations in various policies that Christians at house churches may hold an assembly without registration and other policies on religious freedom. It is my belief that this persecution is a result of the corruption of officials subordinate to the central government, failure to enforce the law in a strict way, distortion of facts and evildoings and collusion between the local despots and the officials.

 

President Hu, are you aware that the officials under you arrest, beat and drive away the Christians from their homes? Our brothers and sisters are being detained because they do not bribe the officials. Do you not think their souls will tell God about their sufferings? Is it true that President Hu has not heard anything about this after you have made so many overt and covert trips in China? Are you really apathetic to all of this?

 

President Hu, I was selected by God 21 years ago. Belief in Jesus has changed my life. A sinner became the son of God and I no longer sinned. All the glory in this belongs to our Lord Christ. Two months and three days after I accepted the Lord, I was illegally beaten by Tanghe County Public Security Bureau of Nanyang Municipality, Henan Province. I was imprisoned for 185 days. I had very good lessons in law in the prison for over half a year. Finally, I was released on no charges on March 22, 1987. After I went to Beijing, I sued director of the court for Tanghe County Public Security Bureau and I was recompensed for the wrongs I suffered. From that time on, I went all over China in 1998, on a bike, to preach the Gospel, save the people, help the people and pray for China. In a period of four months, I traveled over 30,000 li of distance through cold winters and hot summers. After I came back, I sold all my properties to preach the Gospel and arrived in Beijing on January 20, 1999.

 

In the ten years I lived in Beijing, I preached the Gospel and built churches, for which I was arrested, beaten, robbed and driven away by the public security agencies. I then realized that the change of this country not only needs external reform, but the key is the updating of the soul as “the result of a lifetime comes from the heart.” In 1999, I was again taken to a mental hospital and was confined there for 13 days because of preaching the Bible.

 

On February 21, 2002, we had a meeting of testimonies at the residence of Beiqi in Changping. At the time, US President Bush was visiting China for the first time. Changping Public Security Bureau took away 47 of us Christians, including three of whom were blind (two of whom were over 80 and one whom was only seven.)

 

After that, I resided in a rental house in Dongbai Township in Chaoyang District where I was often threatened by the public security people who tried to scare me away. Since they could not find any fault with me, they threatened my landlord and told him to make me move. As a result, they made it impossible for me to earn a livelihood. So, I moved with my family five times in half a month. Later, we moved back to the suburb of Sanheyan in Hebei Province where we lived for over two years.

 

On May 20, 2005, the Chinese House Church Alliance was established. Our hopes were to help the Christians and Churches in China. We did not have any political goals. In a tavern deep in the mountains of Gezhuang, Laishuigou in Baoding, over 40 of us Christians were arrested by Bureau of Religious Affairs and the police. They interrogated me for over five hours. Again, I was released with no charges.

 

During President Bush’s visit to China, he invited several of us Christians in a morning prayer. On November 18, 2005, as soon as my son and I arrived at the West Railroad Station of Beijing, we were taken away by the police for no apparent reason. We were escorted to Sheqi County in Henan Province where we stayed for four days. For no apparent reason, they refused to let me process my passport and prohibited me from processing entry and exit papers for two years, claiming that I was prohibited by law from leaving the country. They deprived me of my freedom as a citizen. Petitions on several occasions produced no results. In the meantime, they also unreasonably seized our identification cards and detained them for a year and a half.

 

The 17th National Congress of your party was held on October 15, but we did not know your date at all beforehand. Your congress was held on the same day as the ordination service of our Chinese House Church Alliance. Again, because of this, we attracted a high level of attention from government officials at all levels subordinate to you who want to ensure your peace and the delegates of central government officials. To achieve this, they stalked us Christians and placed us under their supervision and control. They raided our orphanage and school at Yanjiao Village in Hebei Province and threatened the students there. They also persecuted the brigade in the village and threatened by saying that if we did not move in three days, they would cut off our water, electricity and road access. They said I was illegally adopting orphans and now they make threats to two of my sons and want them to move. The public security bureau has driven us to desperation of homelessness and the orphans will be driven to the street. Do we still call this a sign of a harmonious society? You are high above there and have you really not heard of these: corruption, bribery, collusion between the officials and the local despots in doing evil deeds, cheating their superiors and covering up from their subordinates and currying favor with their superiors? I implore you to seriously consider the misery of the common people and urge the officials subordinate to you to stop persecuting Christians and implement their promises in the constitution on religious freedom. I also implore you to bring about a government that keeps its promises and initiate a new period of harmony between the government and the masses. The reason for this is because just as you said, we can have a harmonious society when we build it on the foundations of love, friendship, fairness and justice.

 

President Hu, please forgive me if I offended your dignity. At the time I began to write this open letter to you, I had already fully prepared to die because of this. However, I believe both my life and your heart are in the hands of God Jehovah and He will bring peace both to you and me. Our desire is to win justice for the common people in China so that the Chinese society is full of love and care and that China can become free and prosperous and a real powerful country in the 21st century in soul and in social system. We sincerely pray to the Lord to punish the evil and promote the good so that the common people can receive blessings and that China will have real religious freedom. I believe this is also the wish of President Hu. I hereby pray to God to bless you and all the officials in power, to give them more wisdom in ruling China. I sincerely invite Christians both in China and abroad to pray with me and may the kingdom of God come to us soon!

 

Pastor Zhang Mingxuan

 

Pastor Xie Fenglan

 

Chinese House Church Alliance

 

China Aid encourages all house church members persecuted by the Chinese government officials to fight back the abuses through the Chinese law, the international law and seek help from the international community.

 

Issued by CAA on November 28, 2007.

 

 

Click Here for photo of Pastor Zhang Mingxuar

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